Varsity girls win thriller, boys blown out in second ‘Battle of the Bubble’

Junior+Ryanne+King+looks+for+a+layup+in+the+paint.+The+girls+won+both+games+of+their+region+doubleheader%2C+beating+McIntosh+85-61+after+being+down+11+in+the+fourth+quarter%2C+and+defeating+Whitewater+61-55+in+double+overtime.+The+boys+split+their+games%2C+losing+to+McIntosh+85-61%2C+and+beating+Whitewater+46-34.+

Katie Linkner

Junior Ryanne King looks for a layup in the paint. The girls won both games of their region doubleheader, beating McIntosh 85-61 after being down 11 in the fourth quarter, and defeating Whitewater 61-55 in double overtime. The boys split their games, losing to McIntosh 85-61, and beating Whitewater 46-34.

Ben Barkley, Staff Writer

Friday night, the boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams traveled to McIntosh to take on the Chiefs in the first games of a region rival double-header over the weekend. The games were each completely different, with the girls picking up a close win 44-41 after being down by 11 in the fourth quarter, while the boys were blown out 85-61.

“The girls fought for this game,” head coach Emily Sweeney said. “They thankfully outworked them in the fourth quarter.”

Being down in the first half didn’t help us that much, but our team knows how to fight.”

— senior Alyssa Angelo

Senior Alyssa Angelo and freshman Jaclyn Hester each led the way in scoring with 13 points. Junior Alice Anne Hudson also pitched in with six points.

The first quarter was all McIntosh to start as freshman Chief Carrie Consolino hit two straight threes to help McIntosh jump out to a 6-0 lead. The Lady Panthers started off committing sloppy passes for turnovers, never gaining the momentum until the middle of the quarter when a pair of offensive rebounds by Angelo and Hester turned into easy layups to put the Panthers on the board.

Angelo also played well on the defensive end, having two steals, but it wasn’t enough to control the turnovers for the Lady Panthers, locking in the score at 8-6 in favor of the Chiefs. The Chiefs then hit two straight three pointers at the end of the quarter to make the score 14-8.

The beginning of the second quarter started with a quick Angelo steal and basket. Hudson followed that up with a fast break run down block, stopping the chance of an easy Chief basket. However, the Lady Panthers could not muster any offense, committing many sloppy passes that turned into easy Chiefs baskets, making the score 20-15 in favor of the Chiefs at halftime.

“We knew we had to win this game,” Angelo said. “Being down in the first half didn’t help us that much, but our team knows how to fight.”

Turnovers continued to be the order of the day for the Panthers as the second half got underway. The Chiefs took advantage of this by going on a 9-4 run to start the quarter to make the score 29-19 in the middle of the quarter. However, the Lady Panthers took some momentum off a three pointer by senior S.K Kirby. The Chiefs still went on a 10-8 run after this three pointer to make the score at the end of the third quarter 37-28 Chiefs.

I saw Alyssa cutting, dished to her, and prayed that she made it.”

— junior Ashtyn Lally

The Panthers relied on the three pointer in the fourth quarter with Hester and Angelo hitting two straight to put the Lady Panthers within three. Still, McIntosh increased the lead to ten, then called a timeout.This timeout gave the Panthers enough time to give one final push.

The Panthers still relied on the three pointer to put the team within four after being down 11 just two minutes earlier. After a layup from McIntosh, junior Ashtyn Lally hit a clutch three pointer to put the team within one point. Lally stole the inbound play and found Angelo to give the Panthers a one point lead.

“I just saw that they overpassed it to her,” Lally said. “Then I saw Alyssa cutting, dished to her, and prayed that she made it.”

McIntosh missed three straight layups in the paint, and junior Ryanne King hit two free throws to seal the deal, giving the Panthers a 44-41 win.

“We’re definitely gonna take our mistakes and learn from them,” Lally said. “We mainly have to do better on our defense.

The Lady Chiefs now have a 12-6 record with a 4-4 region record. They play next against the Fayette County High School Tigers on Jan. 22.

The Lady Panthers now boast a 13-6 record and a 6-1 region record. They followed up the thrilling win with a double overtime victory against Whitewater on Saturday. They play next on Jan. 22 against the Jonesboro High School Cardinals at Jonesboro.

Following that game, the 9-9 varsity boys’ team took on the 6-11 varsity Chiefs. The Chiefs took a commanding lead and never looked back as they won the game 85-61. Senior Keenan Brown shot 7-for-7 from behind the arc en route to the dominant win.

My hats off to McIntosh. They shot the ball really well.”

— head coach Charlemagne Gibbons

“They outplayed us in both phases,” head coach Charlemagne Gibbons said. “My hats off to McIntosh. They shot the ball really well.”

Juniors Jamaine Mann and Reese Clevenger each led the way in scoring with 14 and eleven respectively, with senior Nate Allison also contributing 11 points of his own.

Both teams got off to quick starts, with Mann and Clevenger hitting three pointers and senior Chief Keenan Brown hitting two three pointers of his own to make the score 6-3 early. Mann continued to play well, scoring consistently. However, turnovers from the Panthers were starting to take its toll.

The Panthers gained some momentum off a quick three pointer from junior Zac Cerniglia. Junior Jabian Lynch also proved to be a valuable contribution off the bench, playing intense defense and contributing a layup. The Chiefs still had the momentum and held a 23-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Clevenger started the second quarter with a quick three pointer, and Allison started to dominate the offensive glass to give the Panthers the advantage. However, the Chiefs continued to hit three pointer after three pointer to keep the lead. Cerniglia joined in on the party, hitting two three pointers to make the score 29-26 Chiefs in the middle of the quarter. The Panthers ended the quarter with sloppy play that led to  turnovers to give the Chiefs a 40-31 lead at halftime.

“I thought we played hard as a team,” Allison said. “They hit a lot of their shots, so there was nothing we could really do about that.”

McIntosh took advantage of even more Panther turnovers to start the third quarter, with Brown hitting three after three with no misses. The Panthers attempted to mount a comeback but everything was met with more aggression from the Chiefs. This continued throughout the whole quarter, making the score 66-47 at the end of the third quarter.

“We were a step slow tonight,” Gibbons said. “The game meant a lot to [McIntosh] tonight.”

The fourth quarter saw more of the same as in the third. However, the Panthers attempted to claw back in it, but by then it was too late as the Chiefs were too much ahead, giving the Panthers an 85-61 loss.

“This was our worst defensive game we’ve had this season,” Mann said. “We’ve never been blown out by this much, so we have to work on that.”

The win improved the Chief record to 7-11, 3-5 in region play. Their next game is Jan. 22. against the Fayette County High School Tigers.

The Panthers also played on Saturday against the Wildcats, winning 46-34. With this region doubleheader behind them, the Panthers now boast a season record of 10-10 and 5-3 in the region. They play Jan. 22 in the second half of a varsity double-header at Jonesboro High School.